top of page

Our Van

We live full-time in our 2019 RAM Promaster 2500 Van. We purchased our van in January of 2020, a few weeks after we got engaged and finished our build-out in May 2020, just days before we got married! We’re proud to say we did 100% of the work together, thanks to the invaluable advice given to us by our family, friends and YouTube. 

We built our van knowing we would be using it not only as a base camp for backcountry adventures, but full-time living throughout the year as we attended college and worked a 9-5 job. We gave it homey finishes and as much storage as we could while making sure we had room to hang out, cook all of our meals, do work, and entertain friends. 




We wanted to inside to feel light, airy and spacious, so we opted for white walls and cabinets and light wood in the cedar ceiling planks and butcher block countertops. Our flooring is LifeProof, a vinyl alternative that looks and performs great in our space. It’s durable, waterproof, easy to install and lightweight compared to other flooring options we looked into.


We thought a lot about how to best utilize the 74 square feet of the van and drew out hundreds of sketches of layouts as we dreamed about building a van. One thing we particularly prioritized was kitchen space. Greta enjoys to cook and we both value eating real, whole foods and having home cooked meals. Our Isotherm AC/DC upright fridge was our biggest splurge, but we felt it was worth it because it makes the van feel more like a home than a chest fridge. The rest of the appliances in our kitchen area a two-burner propane camp stove, Blendtec high speed blender, and an InstantPot. 

The large counter space in our kitchen doubles as a guest room, fitting a full-size sleeping pad and sleeping bag comfortably. The cabinets beneath the counter are modified IKEA cabinets, and we loved how inexpensive and easy to install they were compared to other options, including the option of cabinets ourselves. This route didn’t let us do completely custom cabinetry, but it got us pretty close. We're rough in this space, often hauling in large gear, like bikes and skis, or kicking around in muddy boots, and we like that we can easily replace the cabinet fronts from IKEA if ours ever get damaged, or we want to change up the look of the van. 


We put the sink of the van in front of the sliding door so we could spin the nozzle of the sink around to the outside and rinse ourselves off in the doorway when we get *especially* dirty. The sink cabinet holds three 6 gallon water jugs, we keep clean drinking water in two, and use the third to catch our grey water.  With conservative water usage, this 12 gallons of water lasts the two of us about a week before we need to stop and refill. 

Above the sink is a mirror, also from IKEA, and hooks on the door to hang wet towels and jackets. Above the hooks you can see our Metolius Wood Grips hang board, where Kalem does his climbing workouts, and some polaroids from our wedding we like to look at.


Next to the sink a small bench seat. We found a cushion designed for outdoor patio furniture that fits perfectly on top. Inside the bench is our Nature’s Head composting toilet we found through our local classifieds ads. We weren’t planning on putting in a composting toilet because of how expensive we are, but it’s been amazingly convenient and I’m constantly blown away by how easy it is to use. We'd highly recommend including a composting toilet in your build if you can find space for it in your budget. 

The kitchen is finished with some storage/decor. A couple of IKEA shelves hold reusable bottles of multi-surface cleaner and our shampoo. A fruit hammock keeps our produce from rolling around and easily accessible for snacking. 


Part of the space under the counter was left open and we have an stool slid underneath to serve as a full-time work space (since we both are in school and work full-time). If we weren’t living and working in the van full-time I might convert this space to become more storage (I’ve considered turning it into a ski boot cubby, complete with boot warmers). 

The back of the van is our bedroom.  We have a raised platform bed, which provides plenty of room for all of our gear in our “garage” underneath, but enough headroom that we can sit up comfortably in bed. We have a linen duvet that we got for our wedding to keep us cool in the summer, and a heavier Pendleton wool blanket at the foot when it gets chilly outside. With the added wool blanket and the amazing Havelock wool insulation in the walls, we’ve slept comfortably in temperatures as cold as -20º F. Our bed is finished with two Pendleton wool pillow shams. They are secretly stuffed with our bulkier clothing, such as fleece jackets and puffers.


The entire driver's side of the van is lined with overhead cabinets. The three overhead cabinets in the rear keep our clothes organized. The front three provide storage for food, guide books and electronics. 


The “garage” of our van is full of our gear. We have a lot of it and I’m constantly surprised about how much we have tucked inside. We have one large storage tote that keeps all of our camping gear- tent, sleeping bags, backpacking stove, etc. On top of it rests two Pelican cases full of climbing protection and our climbing packs. To the rear in the right we keep our two longboards, for when we want to cruise around town without a giant cargo van, and any extra random gear that doesn't have a home (yet).  Two wooden totes sit right in the front, one for each of us. Kalem fills his with his kite, slack line, more climbing gear, and maybe a stray pair of shoes. Greta’s serves primary as extra shoe storage. Depending on the season we also keep backcountry skiing and mountain biking gear in our garage space. Along the beams of the bed platform we have hung hooks that keep our our various packs and helmets organized.

On top of our van are three 100-watt solar panels, some crossbars, and a cargo box, which we keep our skis (both downhill and XC) locked inside. On the rear hitch we keep a two-bike rack for our full-suspension mountain bikes. Both our cargo box and our bike rack are from Yakima. 
We've been living in the van full-time for almost a year now, and we still regularly make small renovations and changes. The last project we tackled was adding a ladder to make it easier to get to the cargo box on top after a winter of Kalem doing a muscle up on the crossbars. I don't think any home is ever finished.
If you have any questions about our van, feel free to reach out! We'd love to share our experience building and living our rig. 



bottom of page